Gwendolen T Buhr

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (22)72.35 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Since many of the frailest and most vulnerable Americans reside in nursing homes, medical students need focused education and training pertaining to this setting. A unique cooperative learning experience utilizing the jigsaw method was developed to engage and expose students to the institutional long term and postacute care (LTPAC) setting and the roles of personnel there. To accomplish these goals, small groups of medical students interviewed LTPAC personnel about their role, generally, and in relation to a specific patient case. These groups were then rearranged into new groups containing 1 student from each of the original groups plus a faculty facilitator. Each student in the new groups taught about the role of the LTPAC professional they interviewed. To assess the effectiveness of this learning experience, students and LTPAC personnel provided written feedback and rated the activity using a 5-point Likert scale (1 = worst; 5 = best). Students also took a knowledge test. The activity received ratings from students of 3.65 to 4.12 (mean = 3.91). The knowledge test results indicated that students understood the roles of the LTPAC personnel. In general, the jigsaw exercise was well-received by participants and provided an effective means of introducing medical students to the nursing home environment.
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 06/2014; · 5.30 Impact Factor
  • Gwendolen T. Buhr, Rayomand Bengali
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 03/2014; 15(3):B16–B17. · 5.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding quality improvement (QI) is an important skill for physicians, yet educational interventions focused on teaching QI to residents are relatively rare. Web-based training may be an effective teaching tool in time-limited and expertise-limited settings. We developed a web-based curriculum in QI and evaluated its effectiveness. During the 2011-2012 academic year, we enrolled 53 first-year internal medicine residents to complete the online training. Residents were provided an average of 6 hours of protected time during a 1-month geriatrics rotation to sequentially complete 8 online modules on QI. A pre-post design was used to measure changes in knowledge of the QI principles and self-assessed competence in the objectives of the course. Of the residents, 72% percent (37 of 51) completed all of the modules and pretests and posttests. Immediate pre-post knowledge improved from 6 to 8.5 for a total score of 15 (P < .001) and pre-post self-assessed competence in QI principles on paired t test analysis improved from 1.7 to 2.7 on a scale of 5 for residents who completed all of the components of the course. Web-based training of QI in this study was comparable to other existing non-web-based curricula in improving learner confidence and knowledge in QI principles. Web-based training can be an efficient and effective mode of content delivery.
    Journal of graduate medical education. 03/2014; 6(1):147-50.
  • Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 03/2014; 15(3):B10–B11. · 5.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of the Study: To describe key adaptive challenges and leadership behaviors to implement culture change for person-directed care. The study design was a qualitative, observational study of nursing home staff perceptions of the implementation of culture change in each of 3 nursing homes. We conducted 7 focus groups of licensed and unlicensed nursing staff, medical care providers, and administrators. Questions explored perceptions of facilitators and barriers to culture change. Using a template organizing style of analysis with immersion/crystallization, themes of barriers and facilitators were coded for adaptive challenges and leadership. Six key themes emerged, including relationships, standards and expectations, motivation and vision, workload, respect of personhood, and physical environment. Within each theme, participants identified barriers that were adaptive challenges and facilitators that were examples of adaptive leadership. Commonly identified challenges were how to provide person-directed care in the context of extant rules or policies or how to develop staff motivated to provide person-directed care. Imple- menting culture change requires the recognition of adaptive challenges for which there are no technical solutions, but which require reframing of norms and expectations, and the development of novel and flexible solutions. Managers and administrators seeking to implement person-directed care will need to consider the role of adaptive leadership to address these adaptive challenges.
    The Gerontologist 01/2014; · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Long term care deserves focused attention within a geriatric medicine fellowship curriculum to ensure that graduates are prepared not only for clinical care but also for the leadership, administrative, educational, quality improvement, and health policy aspects of their future roles. This report describes the curriculum development and program evaluation of an advanced course in long term care for geriatric medicine fellows and other graduate/post-graduate health professionals at Duke University. Course evaluation had 4 goals: (1) to determine how well the learning objectives were met; (2) to evaluate individual components of the course to improve subsequent offerings; (3) to determine whether additional topics needed to be added; and (4) to evaluate the effectiveness of the discussion forum component of the course. Learner self-efficacy improved within all competency areas but especially those of practice-based learning and system-based practice. Evaluation results led to curriculum revision that has maintained course relevance and sustained it within the larger geriatrics fellowship curriculum. Components of this course can be easily adapted to other curricular settings for fellows and residents.
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 04/2013; · 5.30 Impact Factor
  • Liza Genao, Gwendolen T Buhr
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    ABSTRACT: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are commonly suspected in residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities, and it has been common practice to prescribe antibiotics to these patients, even when they are asymptomatic. This approach, however, often does more harm than good, leading to increased rates of adverse drug effects and more recurrent infections with drug-resistant bacteria. It also does not improve genitourinary symptoms (eg, polyuria or malodorous urine) or lead to improved mortality rates; thus, distinguishing UTIs from asymptomatic bacteriuria is imperative in the LTC setting. This article provides a comprehensive overview of UTI in the LTC setting, outlining the epidemiology, risk factors and pathophysiology, microbiology, diagnosis, laboratory assessment, and management of symptomatic UTI.
    Official journal of the American Medical Directors Association 04/2012; 20(4):33-38.
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    ABSTRACT: Randomized controlled trials have shown that adequate vitamin D supplementation in nursing home (NH) residents reduces the rates of falls and fractures. In our NH, review of medication administration records of all patients (n = 101) revealed that only 34.6% of the patients were currently prescribed adequate doses of vitamin D, revealing a need for intervention. We designed a Quality Improvement (QI) project with the objective of improving the vitamin D prescription rate in our NH. We used the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach to implement this QI project. Patients not currently prescribed an adequate dose of vitamin D were identified and started on a daily dose of 800 IU of vitamin D. Additionally, patients who were experiencing falls while on an adequate dose of vitamin D for 3 months were examined for the possibility of vitamin D deficiency and were started on 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week for 12 weeks if they were found to be vitamin D-deficient based on blood levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D below 30 ng/mL. We found that with several PDSA cycles over a period of 5 months, the prescription rate for vitamin D was increased to 86%, surpassing our initial goal of 80%. In conclusion, we found that a multidisciplinary QI program utilizing multiple PDSA cycles was effective in reaching target prescription rates for vitamin D supplementation in a population of NH patients.
    Journal of nutrition in gerontology and geriatrics. 04/2012; 31(2):158-71.
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    ABSTRACT: To explore the perspectives and priorities of nursing home residents, family members, and frontline nursing staff concerning a broad range of items representing common targets of culture change initiatives. Qualitative study. A Veterans Affairs Community Living Center and two community nursing homes in North Carolina. Residents (n = 21), family members (n = 21), and direct-care nursing staff (n = 21) were recruited, with equal numbers in each group from each site. Participants rated the importance of 62 items from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Artifacts of Culture Change instrument. Participants sorted cards reflecting each culture change artifact in two phases, identifying and ranking those of more and less importance to them to derive one distribution of preferences for each respondent. Q-sort analysis identified groups of respondents who prioritized similar items; qualitative analysis sought themes or explanations for the responses. Wide variation in respondent preferences was observed. Some respondents viewed several items that others valued highly as unimportant or undesirable. Some items were not high priorities for any respondents. Four groups of respondents with similar preferences were identified: practical and independence-focused respondents, who prioritized ease of use of the physical environment; staff-focused respondents, who prioritized nursing staff retention and development; consistency and choice-focused respondents, who prioritized stable nurse staff-resident relationships and resident choice; and activity and community-focused respondents, who prioritized community gathering spaces and activities. Resident, family, and staff priorities for culture change vary, and diverse priorities of stakeholders should be considered to inform culture change efforts on a local and national level.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 02/2012; 60(3):525-31. · 4.22 Impact Factor
  • Gwendolen T Buhr, Miguel A Paniagua
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    ABSTRACT: Since the advent of the teaching nursing home, made formal in the 1980s, long-term care has been used to teach geriatric medicine. Despite this, national surveys have indicated a need for more training during residency to facilitate the appropriate care for the frail long-term care patient population. In addition to medical knowledge, the long-term care site is appropriate for teaching the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education's core competencies of "practice-based learning and improvement," "interpersonal and communication skills," and "systems-based practice." Program planners should emphasize opportunities for students to demonstrate their skill in one of these competencies.
    Clinics in Geriatric Medicine 05/2011; 27(2):199-211. · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • Gwendolen T Buhr, Liza Genao, Heidi K White
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    ABSTRACT: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is common in long-term care (LTC) residents; however, most infections are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. Differentiating asymptomatic from symptomatic UTI is challenging, because LTC residents typically have chronic genitourinary complaints, multiple comorbid illnesses, and communication barriers. Although consensus guidelines have been proposed to improve the accuracy of identifying symptomatic UTIs and minimize treatment of asymptomatic UTIs, diagnostic accuracy is not yet optimized. Strategies for prevention of UTI are unsatisfactory and require further study; nevertheless, there is some evidence for the efficacy of cranberry products and vaginal estrogen to prevent recurrent UTI in women.
    Clinics in Geriatric Medicine 05/2011; 27(2):229-39. · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • Lidia Vognar, Gwendolen Buhr
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 03/2011; 12(3):B10–B11.
  • Mamata Yanamadala, Gwendolen Buhr
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 03/2010; 11(3):B20.
  • Gwendolen Buhr, Connie W Bales
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    ABSTRACT: The use of nutritional supplements (NS) with the intention of improving health and delaying age-related chronic disease is a common practice among older adults; however, randomized controlled trials have yielded mixed results regarding the likelihood that these NS provide true health benefits. We reviewed the findings of these studies regarding the effects of NS of folic acid, vitamin B(12), vitamin B(6), and omega-3 fatty acids on health outcomes in older adults. Our conclusions include the following: Supplements of the B vitamins folate, B(12) and B(6) have been studied with regards to primary and secondary prevention of a number of major age-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, cognitive decline, and cancer. While there are some encouraging findings with regards to stroke, depression, and macular degeneration (although in only one study in the latter case), there is little evidence of benefit of B vitamin NS for delaying CVD or age-related cognitive changes. In the few cancer-related studies, the evidence of benefit is coupled with concerns about enhancing the growth of existing undiagnosed cancers. In contrast, clear health benefits have been shown with modest increases in consumption of fatty fish or fish oil supplements, including a reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death. In addition, there is evidence that high dose fish oil supplements may lower serum triglyceride levels.
    Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly 01/2010; 29(1):42-71.
  • Heidi K White, Gwendolen Buhr, Jose Gonzalez
    Annals of internal medicine 09/2009; 151(6):430-1; author reply 432. · 13.98 Impact Factor
  • Heidi K White, Gwendolen T Buhr, Sandro O Pinheiro
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    ABSTRACT: Mentoring is an important instructional strategy that should be maximally used to develop the next generation of physicians who will care for a growing population of frail older adults. Mentoring can fulfill three specific purposes: (1) help learners choose an area of specialty, (2) help fellows and new faculty navigate advancement in the academic environment, and (3) help new physicians enter a local medical community and develop a high-quality, professionally rewarding, financially viable practice that meets the needs of older adults. The components and process of mentoring are reviewed. Current and potential mechanisms to promote mentoring for the specific purpose of increasing the quality and quantity of physicians available to care for the older adult population are discussed.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 08/2009; 57(7):1270-7. · 4.22 Impact Factor
  • Gwendolen Buhr, Connie W Bales
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of older adults take nutritional supplements (NS) to prevent deficiencies and/or because they are interested in the potential health promoting effects of these nutrients. This review explores the evidence of benefit for supplements of multivitamin/minerals (MVM), antioxidant nutrients, and vitamin D/calcium. Major conclusions include the following: While recommendations that older adults take a daily MVM are common, there is limited scientific support for the health-related efficacy of these supplements. In contrast, a number of antioxidant nutrients have been extensively studied. The evidence does not support a recommendation for vitamins A, C, E, or antioxidant combinations in the prevention of CVD or cancer. Based on encouraging preliminary findings, more study is recommended on the benefit of antioxidant supplements for age-related macular degeneration and of selenium for cancer prevention. In contrast to the state of the art for antioxidant supplements, there is strong and compelling support for the health benefits of supplements of Vitamin D and calcium when intake/status of these nutrients is not optimal. Thus, specific recommendations for these supplements in older adults are warranted.
    Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly 02/2009; 28(1):5-29.
  • Connie W Bales, Gwendolen T Buhr
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between body mass (usually measured as BMI in kg/m(2)) and healthy longevity is a major focus of study in the nutrition and aging field. Over-nutrition now rivals frailty as the major nutritional concern; the number of older adults who are obese has increased dramatically in the past 3 decades. While obesity exacerbates a host of life-threatening, age-related chronic diseases, a somewhat paradoxical finding is that being somewhat overweight in old age appears to be a benefit with regard to longevity. In our recently completed systematic review of randomized controlled weight reduction trials, we found that weight loss interventions in overweight/obese older subjects led to significant benefits for those with osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, while having slightly negative effects on bone mineral density and lean body mass. In contrast to this finding, the preponderance of epidemiological evidence indicates that higher BMIs are associated with increased survival after age 65 years. Because of this contradictory state of the science, there is a critical need for further study of the relationship of weight and weight loss/gain to health in the later years of life.
    Obesity Facts 01/2009; 2(3):171-8. · 1.58 Impact Factor
  • Connie W Bales, Gwendolen Buhr
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this review was to describe the characteristics of late-life obesity, including prevalence, pathophysiology, and influences on morbidity and mortality. A second objective was to systematically review the empiric evidence on the effects of intentional weight loss interventions in older individuals. We summarized the characteristics and known impact of late-life obesity and conducted a systematic review of the outcomes of weight loss interventions in obese older subjects. The inclusion criteria for the review were the following: randomized controlled trial; subjects aged 60 years or older; baseline BMI 27 or higher; weight loss versus baseline 3% or more or 2 kg; and trial duration 6 months or longer. The search strategy yielded 16 articles on weight loss interventions that were examined in detail. Overall, these interventions led to significant benefits for those with osteoarthritis, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2), while having slightly negative effects on bone mineral density and lean body mass. Longitudinal trials examining mortality and body weight suggest that maintaining weight is beneficial in older persons who become obese after age 65; in contrast, intervention trials show clinically important benefits of weight reduction with regard to osteoarthritis, physical function, and possibly DM-2 and coronary heart disease. Given these findings, we recommend that decisions about whether or not to institute a weight loss intervention for obese older persons be carefully considered on an individualized basis with special attention to the weight history and the medical conditions of each individual.
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 06/2008; 9(5):302-12. · 5.30 Impact Factor
  • Gwendolen T Buhr, Heidi K White
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    ABSTRACT: Difficult behaviors are relatively common challenges that can occur throughout the natural progression of dementia, but are particularly common in the mid to late stages of disease. These behaviors can be challenging to manage in nursing and assisted care facilities, and can cause distress to the caregivers and to the patients themselves. Our ability to manage these symptoms can have a profound effect on the patient's quality of life. This article reviews the appropriate assessment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and the literature supporting various nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments. Nonpharmacologic approaches should be the initial focus for treatment of most BPSD, but should these prove inadequate, a variety of medications are available with varying degrees of clinical research to support their use in ameliorating BPSD.
    Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 04/2007; 8(3 Suppl 2):e101-13. · 5.30 Impact Factor